Tower(s) to the people.
Some 149 air traffic control towers, initially slated to be shuttered in April because of sequester-manadated budget cuts, will remain open at least through the end of the year, the DOT announced.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that there is enough funding in the recently enacted Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 not only to end the furloughs of FAA-employed air traffic controllers, but there is also “sufficient funds” to keep open “149 low-activity contract towers.”
These air traffic controllers were intitially slated to be closed in June, but the FAA will now keep them open for the rest of the year, at least. Critics stated that shutting them would compromise aviation safety.
There is enough money in the recent legislation, spurred by the spate of flight delays around the country, to allocate $10 million toward reducing budget trims in NextGen air traffic control systems, and “$11 million to partially restore the support of infrastructure in the national airspace system,” according to the FAA.
In other words, the furlough and towering closure crises are over for now.